The last year-or-so has been interesting. I keep wondering how many transitions a person can go through at one time? I have so much blog material right now that my iPhone Notes app is bursting at the seams.
I love change. I actually like change even when it’s bad. I’m one of those weird people, I guess, who doesn’t like complacency. So I suppose you could say the rollercoaster(s) of multiple transitions have been welcomed even when unwelcomed. Geez that just made me realize what a strange person I am… haha.
I think the largest recent transitions have been moving from the city to the country, traveling for business a lot more than usual, volunteering on a board of directors for a non-profit and (after 10 years of working remote/from home/on the road) going from remote work back into an office setting. I’ve embraced all of these changes, but having them all happen at the same time has been a bit much… even for me.
We’ll probably end up with several takes (or chapters) on each topic, but the travel has been so heavy that it happens to be my fullest notepad… so we might as well take a break from city-to-county and touch on light-travel to super-unpredictably-often travel.
On 5/3/2018 a life changing event is about to happen to me. On that day, Jet Blue Airlines starts flying to JFK every morning at 6am from a small regional airport right near my house. I now believe in god because my prayers have just been answered.
In today’s reality, I take a ride into Boston for every flight. Those of you that drive into Boston on weekdays know that this is very predictable (wink wink) and can take anywhere from 1 – 4 hours. So… you have to assume it’s 4 so you don’t miss your flight. Plus there are always “fun” surprises like the time I was catching a 4am flight and was excited about driving in with no traffic. I get to the exit right before the Ted Williams Tunnel to the airport, and the road is closed. THE MASSACHUSETTS TURNPIKE WAS CLOSED. Luckily for me it was pouring rain, almost zero visibility and the detour took me into a part of the city I was completely unfamiliar with. My GPS was an asshole and kept trying to reroute me back to the tunnel. So the 5 minute stretch took me over 2 hours. The joys of Logan airport.
My next trip is on 5/2… the day BEFORE the new found joy of regional airport life. SO, I’m flying out from Logan but back IN to the regional. Take that universe! Jet Blue daily to JFK… and then to the entire country… I LOVE YOU! Feel free to sing (out loud or in your mind) the Disney greatest hit “A whole neeeeeeew wooooooooooooooooooooooorld”. Yes, I’ll be on Jet Blue’s magic carpet. My friend and colleague A-Rev says I have a crush on Jet Blue. He is totally right.
This regional airport is so small that it only has one gate, and one plane flying at a time. They have a “bar” that serves the worst bloody mary I’ve ever had, but obviously I still get it every time. My first time there (as a frequent traveler I have TSA Pre-Check) I said to the TSA guy (just him and me in the entire area)…. “Excuse me, can you tell me where the TSA Pre-Check line is?” He laughed and told me I was the first person to use that line. I assured him that I wouldn’t be the last.
It’s been 13 years since my last actual vacation get-away. So in a way this business travel is good in that I can see the country and experience things that I may not otherwise experience. At least this is what I told myself a few weeks ago as I saw the airport shuttle pull into my driveway, I grabbed my bag, and my nose started bleeding and would not stop. Let the games begin! I should also mention this was a 3:30am pick up. The other passengers were absolutely thrilled to have a person hop in next to them with an unstoppable nosebleed and a bloody bath towel. It was fantastic. Each new passenger was greeted with this completely normal situation. It was totally not a red flag for the TSA at the airport to have a woman traveling alone with a bloody shirt on. It was all totally fine. This was also after sleeping for about an hour the night before.
I have no recollection of putting on my seatbelt on the plane. I just remember waking up just above Chicago as the woman next to me spilled her coffee. I had some weird 6th sense moment where I woke up just as it spilled, and caught it before it hit me (not before it hit her). She tried, unsuccessfully, wiping it up with a waxy Dunkin Donuts bag. Yay. Sleep and sanity are overrated. I was totally fine!
Rolling up on the meeting like hey y’all, I’m here let’s do this totally professional thing I’m all good…
I believe that people feel comfortable around me and that they trust me. But has that been proven or am I just a disillusioned egomaniac? There’s a saying “the proof is in the pudding”. In this one case study, the proof was in the brownie.
So… me and Magic-Matt go to a broker meeting downtown. There is a nice mix of experienced, seasoned professionals and young up-and-comers. Magic-Matt has managed to get his foot in the door at this difficult firm because he’s… well… magic. We meet with the crew and I’m very impressed with the progress Magic-Matt has made already, and the clear progress we are making that day. We ask 2 of the up-and-comers to dinner to get to know them better, and to begin to earn their trust. Magic-Matt and I are both sincere people and connect with the lads quickly, growing on the already-established relationship he has started.
About 2/3 of the way through dinner, we’re feeling pretty good that we’ve taken a step toward earning the trust of the firm. Yet there’s always a lingering doubt in ability and success, which I think is natural. I’m well into my 3rd Old Fashioned (hey don’t judge, this is a very useful networking tool!) when one of the brokers, we’ll call him Broker-420, pulls an object out of his FRONT pocket, wrapped in aluminum foil. Now this foil has clearly been reused many, many, many times. Magic-Matt and I look at each other and back at Broker-420. He unwraps his pot brownie, holds it out to me… I politely decline. He then holds it out to Magic-Matt, who also politely declines. Then proceeds with the oh-well-more-for-me and eats about half of it. I think it’s safe to say we’ve earned this broker’s trust. #MagicMattForTheWin
Broker-420 and I jump in an Uber because my hotel is in the same neighborhood as his apartment. He laughs the entire way and says “I love you guys” no less than 10 times on the 10 minute ride. We got out and he tells me he will give as much business to Magic-Matt as is “humanly possible”. Ability to earn the trust of business partners…. CHECK.
Last June I went to a conference in San Diego, my first time in SoCal! The land of perfect, predictable weather. It rained the entire time, allegedly this is unheard of. So, I was excited to go to LA this past January to finally experience the SoCal dream. A-Rev and MP-West-Coast had planned out a lovely week of meetings and warm weather experience. MP-West-Coast picks me up at the airport to take me to her house on the beach before the meeting parade starts. Wonderful plans to walk the beach and get some pre-dinner drinks have been pondered for weeks. But… you guessed it, it was pouring. It wasn’t raining. It wasn’t misting. It was pouring. The streets were flooding… our shoes were filling with water. The good news was that we found a really cool place to eat and made the best of it! I stayed almost a full week and… you guessed it… it rained every day. Is it me? It appears so…
My flight back was craptacular. Non-Stop LA to Boston in the middle seat. A Rabbi on my right side visibly judging my drink choice (it was AFTER noon and I’m in the middle seat for 6 hours Ace, deal with it). An older man was to my left, he seemed nice enough. His wife was across the aisle. I eliminated occasional discomfort for them throughout the flight like explaining how the food menu works and calling the flight attendant to get them blankets. In exchange, he kept his elbow on my arm rest for the entire flight, which shut my movie off over, and over and over and over as he accidentally hit the “off” button. #MiddleSeatGetsTheArmRests #TravelRules
Last week I was in San Antonio. It’s my least favorite destination (sorry guys). I feel like the Riverwalk area is built specifically for tourists and has no real culture. Downtown is too dangerous to walk alone at night. It’s impossible to get a direct flight and I either miss connections, or near-miss connections, every time I go. I have major seasonal allergies as soon as the doors of the plane open. Oh San Antonio. This time I had a bizarre Uber driver from the airport to the hotel. He was a very large, older gentleman in a Mercedes. He was dressed from head to toe in Tabasco branded items. He didn’t have a seatbelt on so the ding-ding-ding-ding thing went off for the entire half hour ride. I have no words. He’s clearly passionate about Tabasco, I’ll give him that.
Brand Dedication going on here…
There was a smoke alarm on floors 5-8 while I was at the hotel. I proceeded to find the fire safety posting and followed the directions to the nearest stairwell. I got down two flights and there was a cement wall with no more stairs. So… this is how I die. In a hotel stairwell in San Antonio with un-straightened hair and a dress I just pulled out of my dirty laundry pile. Awesome. Suddenly, a set of elevator doors open and I see 10 staff members in the elevator. I said “ahhh can I come with you?” So we proceed to the basement and I hang out with them until the floors are cleared. Oh San Antonio, you don’t fail to disappoint.
I had to fly American on the way back because Jet Blue doesn’t fly to SAT… no big deal, I can deal with sharing a screen with everyone else… I don’t need my own screen, right? I landed in Charlotte with 4 minutes to get to my connecting flight because of a delay leaving SAT. Of course I was in the furthest terminal from my flight. Have you ever seen a 45 year old Italian woman in a suit and $2 Walmart flats running with a 30lb suitcase? A few hundred people in Charlotte did last week. It was very impressive I’m sure. We will either get a ton of business, or never get any business, from the broker who was on my flight sitting next to me who saw me run-unlike-the-wind. #WheresMyPotBrownie
American Airlines… plenty of screens except that time the person in front of you has a fuzzy hood. At least I was only 1/3 way through with the movie I’m sure the ending was boring nbd.
I have 5 more travel stories for you, plus a list for future publication of shit NOT to do while traveling… but we are at my blog length max…. so…. I’m also way too tired to tell you about the time my car broke down in the Logan Airport Parking Garage which set off a 50 hour chain of unfortunate events…
Until next time… you know where gold is from.